How to Show That a Truck Accident Was Caused by the Drivers Lack of Training

Proper Training is Critical for Accident Prevention

Accidents in which commercial trucks are involved can have devastating consequences. Thankfully, many of these accidents are preventable through comprehensive driver training. Well-trained drivers are better prepared to anticipate hazards, react defensively, and ensure the safety of themselves and everyone sharing the road. However, not all drivers are adequately trained, leading to life-altering accidents.

Devastating Consequences of Poor Training: How Inexperience Leads to Truck Accidents

Inadequate training for commercial truck drivers creates a dangerous gap in knowledge and skills, directly contributing to devastating accidents. Here’s how:

  • Miscalculations and Collisions: Poor training in maneuvering techniques leaves new drivers unprepared for tight spaces, sharp turns, and reversing maneuvers. This lack of skill can lead to miscalculations, resulting in collisions with objects or other vehicles.
  • Underestimating Stopping Power: New drivers who haven’t been properly trained on a truck’s significantly longer stopping distance compared to cars often underestimate the braking power needed. This can cause catastrophic rear-end accidents.
  • Blind Spot Neglect: Extensive blind spots are a major hazard for large trucks. Inadequate training in checking mirrors and blind spots before lane changes or merges creates a scenario where unseen vehicles can be struck, causing serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Missed Mechanical Problems: Pre-trip inspections are crucial for identifying potential safety issues. Without proper training, new drivers may neglect these inspections, missing mechanical problems that could lead to breakdowns or even complete loss of vehicle control, causing accidents.
  • Unintentional Traffic Violations: Trucks have specific regulations regarding speed limits, weight restrictions, and lane usage. New drivers unfamiliar with these rules can unintentionally violate them, leading to accidents or compromising safe driving practices.
  • Frozen by Emergencies: Unexpected situations are a reality on the road. Inexperienced drivers who lack training in emergency response techniques may freeze or make poor decisions when faced with sudden stops or swerving maneuvers, increasing the severity of accidents.
  • Unforeseen Hazards: Experienced drivers develop situational awareness, allowing them to anticipate potential hazards. New drivers, without this training, might miss crucial cues, leaving them unprepared to react safely and avoid accidents.
  • Fatigue and Lack of Focus: Truck driving can be tiring, especially for new drivers adjusting to long hours. Without proper training on fatigue management, new drivers are more susceptible to decreased reaction times and difficulty focusing, significantly raising the risk of accidents.

Experience plays a vital role in safe truck driving. But a well-designed training program can equip new drivers with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the road safely. By not addressing these critical gaps in training, the number of devastating accidents caused by inexperienced drivers can increase dramatically.

car accident with an 18 wheeler

Common Mistakes Made by Untrained Drivers

Inadequate training for truck drivers can be a recipe for disaster on the road.  Here are a few of the kinds of accidents that can stem from a lack of proper instruction:

  • Rear-end collisions:  Untrained drivers may underestimate the stopping distance required for a massive truck, leading to devastating rear-end crashes, especially in situations with sudden stops or traffic slowdowns.
  • Jackknife accidents:  These occur when the trailer swings out at a sharp angle from the cab, often caused by aggressive braking or maneuvers attempted without proper understanding of the truck’s dynamics.  Poorly trained drivers may not recognize or react appropriately to situations that could trigger a jackknife.
  • Lane departure accidents:  Maintaining control and navigating lanes, especially during turns or on windy roads, requires a skilled touch. Drivers who haven’t been thoroughly trained in handling large vehicles may drift into other lanes or lose control, causing collisions with other vehicles.
  • Rollover accidents:  Improperly loaded cargo or taking sharp curves at high speeds can increase the risk of a rollover accident. Drivers who lack the knowledge and skills to handle these situations are more likely to be involved in such devastating crashes.
  • Underride accidents:  These horrific accidents occur when a smaller vehicle crashes underneath a truck, often due to the driver misjudging following distances or making improper turns.  Untrained drivers may be unaware of their vehicle’s blind spots and stopping distances, increasing the likelihood of underride accidents.

These mistakes highlight the importance of proper training for truck drivers. By equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge,  accidents and the potential for fatalities can be significantly reduced.

How Can You Prove You’re Not At Fault?

There are several ways to go about proving that you are not at fault for an accident with a truck. Important evidence must be gathered to prove that you are not at fault. This includes the following:

  • Police report: A detailed report from the responding officer is crucial.
  • Witness statements: If anyone saw the accident, their accounts can support your claim.
  • Traffic camera footage: If available, this can provide visual evidence of how the accident happened.
  • Security footage: Depending upon where the accident happened, security cameras from stores, gas stations and other commercial operations might be available.
  • Dashcam footage: If you have a dashcam in your car, it can offer valuable video evidence.

Can a Truck Accident Victim Still be Compensated if the Driver is Trained?

In Georgia, when more than one driver may have made mistakes leading to the accident, a system called comparative negligence determines who is financially responsible for an accident. This means fault is shared proportionally. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, means the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident.

Even if you share some blame for the accident, you can still receive compensation from the truck driver’s insurance company, as long as you’re less than 50 percent at fault. The amount you recover will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20 percent at fault for a $100,000 accident, you’d get $80,000.

The key to maximizing your compensation is to demonstrate the truck driver’s primary fault through evidence like witness statements, police reports, or traffic camera footage. Ideally, if you were completely blameless, you might recover all of your damages from the truck driver or their insurance company.

Consulting an Attorney

At The Millar Law Firm, we always encourage accident victims to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in truck accidents. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, discover who is at fault, and build a strong case to prove you were not at fault.

Your legal team can expertly negotiate with the truck driver’s insurance company to maximize your compensation.

Even though the truck driver may have been properly trained,  accidents can still happen due to unforeseen circumstances or the driver’s negligence.  If you were not at fault, don’t hesitate to seek compensation for your damages.

What Evidence Can Prove that a Truck Driver was Not Properly Trained?

Proving a truck driver lacked proper training can be a complex undertaking, but there are several key pieces of evidence that can help build your case:

  • Driver Records: Check for inconsistencies in the driver’s CDL licensing, endorsements, or any violations on their record. Recent licensing or a lack of endorsements for the specific type of truck or cargo involved could be a red flag.
  • Company Training Records: Look for any gaps in the company’s documented training provided to the driver. This could involve missing certifications, shortened training programs, or a lack of training certifications specific to the truck or situation (e.g., hauling hazardous materials).
  • Driving Errors: Analyze the accident itself. Did the driver make mistakes indicative of a lack of knowledge or skill? This could include improper braking techniques, misjudging turns, or failing to secure cargo safely.
  • Expert Witness Testimony: An expert in trucking safety regulations and training standards can analyze the evidence and provide an opinion on whether the driver’s actions were consistent with proper training.
  • Black Box Data: Modern trucks often have data recorders capturing speed, braking, and other details. This data can be analyzed to see if the driver operated the vehicle within safe parameters.

Your legal team can help to gather this information. It’s important to note that this evidence is most effective when used by a skilled attorney specializing in truck accidents. They can navigate complex regulations and build a strong case to hold the trucking company liable for inadequate driver training.

What are Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) Requirements?

In its efforts to protect the public from inexperienced commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements to ensure new commercial truck drivers receive proper training before hitting the road.

Who Needs ELDT?

  • Individuals seeking a Class A or Class B CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) for the first time.
  • Drivers upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL.
  • Anyone obtaining a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

What Training Does ELDT Cover?

ELDT mandates a combination of theory (classroom) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction delivered by a registered training provider on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) [FMCSA Training Provider Registry].


The theory curriculum for commercial truck drivers encompasses a wide range of essential knowledge. This includes safe driving practices, ensuring drivers can navigate the roads skillfully and defensively. It also delves into the specific road rules and regulations that govern commercial vehicles, keeping drivers compliant and aware of their unique responsibilities on the road. Additionally, the curriculum covers vehicle inspection and maintenance, empowering drivers to identify potential problems and ensure their trucks are operating safely. Finally, it prepares drivers for handling emergencies, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to react calmly and effectively in unexpected situations.

Behind-the-wheel training:

Behind-the-wheel training dives deep into practical skills crucial for commercial truck drivers. This hands-on experience focuses on maneuvering various truck sizes, mastering proper braking techniques in all conditions, and honing the ability to handle challenging road scenarios. There’s no mandated minimum number of hours for this training; instead, instructors assess each driver individually to ensure they achieve competency before receiving their CDL

What Are The Consequences for Untrained Truck Drivers?

The consequences of untrained truck drivers are dire, radiating outwards to impact everyone involved.

Drivers themselves face a heightened risk of accidents and injuries due to inadequate knowledge and skills. This not only puts them at risk, but also increases the likelihood of harming others on the road.  Unforeseen situations can turn catastrophic, potentially leading to lost licenses, legal repercussions, and jeopardized careers.

Trucking companies also suffer significantly. Regulatory bodies can hit them with hefty fines for employing untrained drivers.  Accidents caused by such drivers can trigger lawsuits and tarnish the company’s reputation, making it difficult to attract qualified drivers and clients. Ultimately, the public is most vulnerable. Untrained drivers pose a safety hazard, increasing the risk of accidents with large trucks that can cause extensive damage and casualties.  These accidents can also lead to higher insurance rates for all trucking companies.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) penalizes trucking companies that employ drivers whose accidents stem from inadequate training. Fines, out-of-service orders, compliance reviews, and even license revocation are potential consequences.  It’s important to remember that while the FMCSA may not directly punish the driver, they could face repercussions from their employer or law enforcement depending on the accident’s severity

When an Untrained Driver Causes an Accident, Who is Held Liable?

Here’s a breakdown of who might be held responsible when an untrained driver causes an accident:

  • Truck Driver: The driver themself could be liable if their actions directly caused the accident due to a lack of training. This could involve criminal charges or civil lawsuits depending on the severity.
  • Trucking Company: The company carries significant responsibility for ensuring their drivers are properly trained. If the driver lacked the necessary training and it contributed to the accident, the company could be liable for:
  • Negligent Hiring: If the company failed to perform proper background checks or verify the driver’s qualifications before hiring.
  • Negligent Training: If the company provided inadequate training or failed to address the driver’s specific needs for the type of truck or cargo involved.
  • Pressure to Drive: If the company pressured the driver to operate the truck despite fatigue, illness, or exceeding safe driving hours

In some cases, other parties might share liability. For instance, if a faulty part on the truck contributed to the accident, the parts manufacturer or whoever serviced the vehicle could be liable.

How is Liability Determined?

Determining liability usually involves a legal investigation that examines factors like:

  • The driver’s qualifications and training records.
  • The trucking company’s training programs, accident history, and driver oversight procedures.
  • The specific cause of the accident and how the driver’s lack of training played a role.
  • Any evidence of pressure on the driver from the company.

Consulting with an attorney specializing in truck accidents is crucial to navigate the complexities of these cases and identify who is liable for the damages. They can analyze the evidence and build a strong case to hold the responsible party accountable.

Will the Insurance Company still Pay for an Accident Caused by a Poorly Trained Driver?

It’s difficult for the insurance company to completely avoid paying in a trucking accident caused by a poorly trained driver.

Truck driver liability: The trucker’s insurance policy is most likely on the hook for damages since their lack of training contributed to the accident.

Trucking company liability: If the trucking company knew or should have known about the driver’s inadequate training and hired them anyway, their insurance might also be responsible for covering damages. This falls under negligent hiring.

While the truck driver’s insurance and potentially the trucking company’s insurance (if they were negligent in hiring) are likely responsible for damages, there are still some ways the insurance company might try to minimize their payout by arguing for a reduced settlement if they believe you share some fault for the accident.

Additionally, accidents involving poorly trained drivers can lead to higher insurance premiums for the trucking company in the future, further highlighting the importance of proper training.

Questions to Ask a Potentially Untrained Truck Driver

Here are some questions that can be asked to determine if a truck driver involved in an accident received adequate training:

About the Driver:

  • How long have you been driving commercial trucks? (Experience doesn’t guarantee proper training, but a very new driver might suggest inadequate training processes)
  • What type of CDL do you hold? (The class of CDL should correspond to the size and weight of the truck the driver was operating)
  • Did you receive any endorsements for your CDL (e.g., hazardous materials)? (Certain cargo requires specific training endorsements)
  • What training program did you complete to obtain your CDL? (Research the program’s reputation and compliance with FMCSA standards)
  • Can you describe the components of your training program? (Look for details on classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel training, and specific skills covered.
  • About the Trucking Company:
  • Can you provide documentation of the driver’s training records? (Look for completion certificates and details of the training program)
  • Does your company have a documented training program for new drivers? (The program should be FMCSA-compliant)
  • Does your company offer ongoing training for experienced drivers?
  • Was the driver qualified and certified to operate the specific truck and haul the cargo involved in the accident?

Remember, these questions are best suited for use by law enforcement or an attorney specializing in truck accidents who can investigate further as it may be inappropriate for  you to ask the questions yourself immediately following an accident.

Your attorney can use these questions along with evidence like the driver’s record, company training documents, and possible black box data from the truck to build a case for inadequate training. 

Can Inadequate Training of a Truck Driver Result in More Compensation?

Inadequate training of a truck driver can potentially  increase the amount of compensation awarded to victims of a truck accident, but it’s not a guarantee. Here are a few key requirements that may establish fault:

Establishing Liability:  To claim compensation due to inadequate training, you and your attorney will need to prove the trucking company failed to provide the driver with proper training  and that this inadequate training  directly contributed to the accident.

Inadequate training can strengthen your case for the losses and damages usually compensated in vehicular accidents such as the following:

  • Medical expenses: If the accident caused severe injuries, the cost of medical treatment can be significant.
  • Lost wages: Serious injuries might prevent victims from working, leading to lost income.
  • Pain and suffering: Accidents can cause immense physical and emotional pain.

Other factors can contribute to the accident, affecting the amount of compensation. For instance, if the driver was speeding or the truck had mechanical problems,  liability might be shared between the driver, the trucking company, and potentially a third party.

Is there a possibility for punitive damages?

In rare cases, if the trucking company’s negligence regarding training was egregious, punitive damages might be awarded to punish the company and deter similar behavior in the future.

Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. I’d recommend Millar Law Firm to anyone.

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Ryan P.

Should you Hire an Attorney?

When you’ve been involved in a truck accident, an attorney specializing in such cases can be a powerful asset. They’ll investigate the cause of the accident, gathering evidence to demonstrate that inadequate training played a role.

This might involve analyzing the driver’s training records, company training policies, and even black box data from the truck itself.

Building a strong case around inadequate training can significantly increase your chances of receiving a higher settlement or jury award. It’s important to remember that every situation is unique, and the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the specific details of your case.

Consulting with an attorney is crucial to understanding your rights and exploring all the options available to maximize the compensation you deserve.

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